Wednesday, May 28, 2008

My Electrogrammaphonic Recording Collection Adventure

When I first came to the place of my current residence, I resolved to go down to my local merchant in audioautorecords and buy a new electrogrammaphonic recording with every paycheck I got. Rather than taking the usual route and seek out albums that I knew to be good, or at least from artists I enjoyed, I decided to take a rather more puckish approach to it. I decided to buy albums based entirely on four criteria:

  1. Cover artwork
  2. Band name
  3. Album title
  4. Song titles
Another rule was that I could not have heard of the band previously.

The result was quite fun, though obviously rather draining on my bank account and time-consuming to boot. I have therefore let the project slip of late, and now I think that it is time to finally put the whole thing to rest. So, as a sort of send-off, here are the albums I purchased, in order and with commentary:

Inquisition - Into the Infernal Regions of the Ancient Cult

Best Song Title: Mighty Wargod of the Templars (Hail Baphomet)

This one was chosen with the help of my associate bluefish, who was visiting at the time. Great album and band names, and songs like "Summoned by Ancient Wizards Under a Black Moon." Unfortunately, the songs themselves aren't quite up to snuff, and on closer inspection the cover art looks like something from the cover of a high schooler's notebooks. Not the strongest start.

Pig Destroyer - Painter of Dead Girls

Best Song Title: Blank Dice

This one is an absolute gem in terms of both album title and band name. I also thought that I was doing well when I saw no less than seventeen songs on the back: if the band was less than stellar, at least I'd be getting a lot of music for the money. Unfortunately, the songs are rarely even a minute in length, and the whole album is not even twenty minutes long.

However, one nice surprise was that their book of lyrics, which clearly has no connection with what they are singing, has some very imaginative and disturbing poems in it. I especially enjoyed Rejection Fetish.

At this point, I was seriously considering giving up the whole enterprise....

Amebix - Arise!

Best Song Title: Axeman I cheated somewhat, and got one that was recommended by the people at the store. Amebix turned out to be quite a solid blend of punk and metal, and a fine addition to the collection. The cover is also excellent: just shady enough to make out the weapons flourished by the people in silhouette. Classy! This is the first of my purchases that I have saved permanently to my computational engine.

Trivium - Ascendancy

Best Song Title: Pull Harder on the Strings of Your Martyr

I later discovered that one of my friends knew of this band, much to my chagrin. Nevertheless, I had never heard of them, so it's a fair purchase. I should also point out that this was bought with the help of two of my friends who, to the best of my knowledge, do not have blogs, so I cannot link to them in thanks.

Their sound is sadly generic, being neither good nor bad.

God Forbid - Gone Forever

Best Song Title: Soul Engraved

This one wasn't a true entry, as it was bought concurrently with Ascendancy. It was also disqualified for having a cover that was, while awesome, too "classy" and not "metal" enough. ("Metal" in this case defined as "something to play Dungeons & Dragons to")

I found them to be about as generic as Trivium, or even more so. Still, not bad.

Wolves in the Throne Room - Two Hunters

Best Song Title: I Will Lay Down My Bones Among the Rocks and Roots

Besides having, hands down, the best name for a band in this list, Wolves in the Throne Room is also my favorite album to listen to. With only four songs, they still manage to clock in 46:16 of sound. Now that's metal! Their sound is probably the most melodic of the group, starting the album with the sound of rain.

Mastodon - Blood Mountain

Best Song Title: Bladecatcher

Rounding out the list is Mastodon, another surprisingly good album. I think that, in the end, what really killed the project was the knowledge that I had gotten lucky with the last two and ended up with better albums than I should have, which led to the realization that I would probably not be as lucky again. Well, that and the expense, of course. This album was used, and therefore mercifully cheap; if you can find it thusly, I would very much recommend you to give it a chance.

So what have I learned? Choose one of the following proverbs to finish:
  • You can't judge a book...
  • A fool and his money...
Do you have any suggestions of albums that you would recommend based entirely on their presentation?


bluefish said...

I don't know enough albums to do that, and this town, to the best of my knowlege, doesn't have a music store as big or as atmospheric as yours.

Still, I think you should pick up this habit again, and let us know (and in more detail) what you find! It's not exactly steampunk, but still interesting.

Kawaika said...

Looks like you picked up some interesting albums, most of which seem to be "extreme metal."

These are some good albums with good covers that I own:

Adiastasia - Life War (there be engrish here)
Becoming the Archetype - Terminate Damnation
Dagon - Paranormal Ichthyology
Extol - Synergy
Extol - Undeceived
Holy Blood - Waves are Dancing
Miseration - Your Demons their Angels